To seize greater market share, International Textile Limited (ITL) set out to offer customers the chance to order bespoke goods, and receive their products in minimal time.
ITL accelerates production and supply-chain operations by upgrading its core SAP ERP applications to the SAP HANA database running on powerful IBM Power Systems servers and IBM Storwize® storage.
20% reductionin lead times means customers get their hands on goods faster
10x fasterreporting drives remarkably low time-to-insight
69% smallerfootprint compared to an equivalent x86 architecture cuts operational costs
Business challenge story
Bringing a touch of luxury
Stepping out of a warm shower and wrapping yourself in a silky-soft bath towel is the perfect little treat. You indulge in the fabric’s gentle caress on your skin, relax, breathe in and enjoy the moment.
There’s a good chance that your favorite towel is from International Textile Limited (ITL), which produces up to 50 tons of towels daily and ships to dozens of countries worldwide. To bring its luxurious towels, bathrobes and bedding to even more homes and hotels across the globe, the company has set its sights on ambitious growth.
To meet its goal, ITL is opening two new plants – doubling its manufacturing capacity. What’s more, the company has recently expanded from traditional institutional sales – serving manufacturers in North America and Europe that have outsourced their production operations – into the retail sector, which involves expanding its reach to the world’s largest retail outlets and ensuring that products are universally available. This shift will help ITL to target new customers and market segments.
To grow its market share, ITL focuses on providing a first-class customer experience. The company set out with a clear vision in mind: to allow customers to order bespoke goods and receive them with a minimal lead time.
Like many textile companies, ITL operates on a made-to-order model, relying on just-in-time logistics. To reduce waiting times for customers, the company needed to accelerate and streamline its supply-chain, manufacturing and logistics operations.
Embedding state-of-the-art technology
For several years, ITL has managed vital business processes around areas such as production, materials management, finance and human resources using a set of SAP ERP applications. To accelerate these processes, ITL decided to upgrade its SAP ERP and SAP Business Warehouse solutions to the SAP HANA in-memory database, and deploy SAP Fiori mobile applications.
To further boost performance, ITL migrated its SAP environment to three IBM Power System S284L servers, which run the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications operating system and are virtualized using IBM PowerVM® technology. Data is stored on an IBM Storwize V5030 array, with regular backups to an IBM TS3100 tape library managed by IBM Spectrum Protect™ software. The IBM architecture is spread across a primary site and a disaster-recovery site, enabling ITL to fail over to a second location in the event of problems at its main data center.
Faraz Ahmed Quddusi, Head of IT at ITL, explains: “The manufacturing processes behind towels, bedding and bathrobes are complex and comprise multiple stages. To offer rapid turnaround using a just-in-time strategy, we needed real-time insight into the status of orders in our production cycle. On our previous hardware and database, queries were slow. By the time we generated a status report, the information was already outdated. SAP HANA is famous for its real-time analytics capabilities, so we were confident that it could solve that problem for us.
“Rapid queries also depend on high-performance servers and storage, and that’s where IBM Power Systems and IBM Storwize V5030 come in. Not only are IBM Power Systems servers and IBM Storwize V5030 extremely powerful, they are also highly reliable and remarkably efficient to run.
“When we went to RFP, the best proposal from an x86 vendor included 13 physical servers across our primary and disaster-recovery sites, whereas IBM could meet our needs with just three IBM Power Systems servers – that equates to a 69 percent smaller footprint. Opting for IBM Power Systems will allow us to postpone enlargements of our data center as we grow, and also keeps the day-to-day overhead of managing, powering, and cooling the servers to a minimum.
“The migration to SAP HANA and the transition from physical machines to a virtualized IBM architecture were remarkably smooth. The coordination between IBM and IBM Business Partner IBL-Unisys was seamless – it felt like we were working with a single team. The IBM team’s wealth of experience contributed massively to the project’s success, and we were able to complete the switchover on time.”
When asked about the trade-off of investment in technology Adnan Khan, the CEO of International Textile Limited, remarked: “Information Technology plays a pivotal role today in all the aspects of the business, whether we are talking about the development of a new product or enhancements in the customer support function. We are a global company with a vision to deliver our products in all the parts of the world to the exact customer specifications; IT serves as our backbone for providing the much-needed market intelligence. Our recent milestone that enables us to collect information from multiple systems and make it easily accessible to all the key stakeholders was critical for our way forward. I take pride in boasting ITL as a pioneer in adopting technology from the textile sector of Pakistan, considering technological transformations and digitization roadmaps for future growth. I believe that this puts us at a strategic advantage.”
Unwrapping fresh commercial opportunities
Thanks to SAP ERP powered by SAP HANA, SAP Business Warehouse powered by SAP HANA, IBM Power Systems and IBM Storwize, ITL has dramatically accelerated its supply-chain and manufacturing processes, enabling faster deliveries to customers.
“We now have real-time data on the status of each order as it progresses through our production cycle, and we can even see where the product is located in our storage facilities,” remarks Faraz Ahmed Quddusi. “Rich insight like this helps us make smarter decisions about production planning and materials management, and our whole business runs much more smoothly. Response times for our SAP ERP applications are 40 times faster than previously, so finance and procurement transactions go through seamlessly and everyone can work much more productively.
“By accelerating our supply chain and production processes, we have reduced lead times for customer deliveries by 20 percent. We are on track to cut waiting times even further, delivering an even better experience to our customers. What’s more, if a customer calls us with a question about their order, we can give them an accurate status update without hesitation.
“Our senior managers are seeing enormous benefits, too. We can give them insight into many more KPIs than previously to help them monitor and improve our business performance. And when they request complex custom reports, we have the information ready for them ten times faster than before.
“SAP HANA on IBM Power Systems has completely transformed the way managers make decisions. Rather than receiving regular static reports via email, for example, they can log into a SAP Fiori app on their mobile phone and examine KPIs in real time.”
The SAP ERP powered by SAP HANA on IBM Power Systems deployment feeds into a broader digital transformation at ITL.
“Previously, we mostly sent physical files – such as PR, PO requests and HR documents – from the relevant factory to our headquarters for approval,” recalls Faraz Ahmed Quddusi. “By digitizing and automating processes using SAP ERP powered by SAP HANA solutions and SAP Fiori mobile applications, we can empower ITL employees to complete these tasks quickly and easily on their mobile phones. Avoiding the transfer of physical files saves money and time, helping us complete jobs such as PO approvals three days faster. This represents a real digital transformation of our business, embracing digitization, automation and efficiency.”
Never resting on its laurels, ITL plans to upgrade to SAP S/4HANA within the next year, enabling digitization and automation of even more business processes.
Faraz Ahmed Quddusi concludes: “The IT department has gone from being a cost center to being a real value driver for the business, bringing us towards paperless, ultra-efficient operations. Business executives see IT as a key partner and enabler of their strategies, rather than a support function. We are on a quest for continuous improvement, and IBM and SAP play an important role in our journey.”
About International Textile Limited
Headquartered in Karachi, Pakistan, International Textile Limited (ITL) manufactures and exports towels, bathrobes and bedding. Serving customers in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and the United Arab Emirates, ITL generates annual revenues of around USD 100 million and produces up to 50 tons of towels every day.
- IBM-SAP Alliance
- IBM Power System S824L
- STG Lab Services: Power
- STG Lab Services: Storage
- Software: Spectrum Protect
- Spectrum Protect
- Storage: IBM Storwize V5030
- Power Systems